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notions,’ still nothing could be kinder, and that she took
considerable interest in the young couple was manifest from the
very long lectures on housewifery with which she was so obliging
as to entertain Mrs Browdie’s private ear, which were illustrated
by various references to the domestic economy of the cottage, in
which (those duties falling exclusively upon Kate) the good lady
had about as much share, either in theory or practice, as any one
of the statues of the Twelve Apostles which embellish the exterior
of St Paul’s Cathedral.

‘Mr Browdie,’ said Kate, addressing his young wife, ‘is the best-
humoured, the kindest and heartiest creature I ever saw. If I were
oppressed with I don’t know how many cares, it would make me
happy only to look at him.’

‘He does seem indeed, upon my word, a most excellent
creature, Kate,’ said Mrs Nickleby; ‘most excellent. And I am sure
that at all times it will give me pleasure--really pleasure now--to
have you, Mrs Browdie, to see me in this plain and homely
manner. We make no display,’ said Mrs Nickleby, with an air
which seemed to insinuate that they could make a vast deal if they
were so disposed; ‘no fuss, no preparation; I wouldn’t allow it. I
said, “Kate, my dear, you will only make Mrs Browdie feel
uncomfortable, and how very foolish and inconsiderate that would
be!” ‘

‘I am very much obliged to you, I am sure, ma’am,’ returned
Mrs Browdie, gratefully. ‘It’s nearly eleven o’clock, John. I am
afraid we are keeping you up very late, ma’am.’

‘Late!’ cried Mrs Nickleby, with a sharp thin laugh, and one
little cough at the end, like a note of admiration expressed. ‘This is
quite early for us. We used to keep such hours! Twelve, one, two,

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